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Super critical ginger extract
Greener and healthier
by Sabinsa Corporation
Many plants belonging to the Zingiberaceae family are known for their medicinal value, two of the most interesting being Curcuma longa and Zingiber officinale . Z. officinale ginger root is commonly used as a spice in cooking; the oil has a nice aroma which imparts a distinct flavour to the food. ‘Trikatu’ is a well-known Ayurvedic formulation containing ginger root which is used to improve the ‘digestive fire’, in other words digestion and the assimilation of food. Its pharmacological properties include antioxidant, hepato-protective, neuroprotective, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour and anti-diabetic activity. Ginger is widely used for its beneficial effects against gastric ulcers and has been shown to have a strong anti-emetic effect .
Many of these pharmacological properties are related to the active compounds present in ginger oil obtained from rhizomes. Powdered rhizome contains approximately 1–3% oil . Ginger oleoresin contains both volatile and non-volatile fractions. The major bioactive compounds obtained from the pungent non-volatile fraction are a series of phenolic ketone compounds collectively known as gingerols. The major components of this homologous series are 6-, 8-, 10- and 12-gingerols (Fig. 1), with 6-gingerol being the most abundant. Other major phenolic ketones in the pungent oleoresin fractions are shogaols; the content of shogaols is very low in fresh ginger but increases in dried ginger. Shogaols are very similar to gingerols in structure with the only difference being a double bond which replaces the hydroxyl group in gingerols .
Gingerols are the most sought after compounds in ginger because of their efficacy, but thermal processing of the raw material by drying, heating, extraction at high temperature and other steps lowers gingerol content. In contrast, shogaol content was found to increase with drying. Structurally, the shogaols are dehydrated gingerols .
Ginger SCF extract
At Sabinsa, in order to preserve the natural compounds present in ginger, a super critical fluid (SCF) extraction process using liquid carbon dioxide is used for extraction. Dried ginger rhizomes are screened and then pulverized to obtain a particle size of approximately 2,000 µm. This powder is then subjected to SCF extraction using liquid carbon dioxide for 3 h at 300±2 bar and 50±2°C. The water is removed from the oleoresin to obtain the concentrated ginger SCF extract with a total gingerol concentration of 35% w/w, which is then blended, filtered and packed.
Composition and technical specifications
Ginger SCF is a brown to dark brown oily viscous liquid with a characteristic odour. SCF extraction results in a final herb:extract ratio of 50:1 to 65:1 with excellent recovery of heat-sensitive gingerols. The SCF extract is standardized to contain a minimum of 35% gingerols as estimated with HPLC using the USP method. Finger printing analysis by HPLC -mass spectroscopy showed 6-gingerol is the major component, followed by 4-, 8- and 10-gingerols. Shogaols (6- 8- and 10-shogaols) were observed but to a much lower degree than in thermally processed ginger (Fig. 2). The technical specifications are summarized in Table 1.
Efficacy and mechanism of action
Ginger contains a large number of phenolic antioxidant compounds such as gingerols and shogaols that contribute to the free radical scavenging activity of the ginger. SCF extraction helps to preserve phenolic compounds such as gingerols in their natural state and sustain their antioxidant activity in the extracted form.
Ginger belongs to the Zingiberaceae family and, similarly to Curcuma longa, has anti-inflammatory activity. Ginger has been studied for its inhibitory activity on the activation of TNF-alpha, IL-1 and IL-8. It also has inhibitory activity against the COX and LOX enzyme pathways, thus reducing arachidonic acid metabolism, which plays important role in inflammation. Ginger has also been shown to inhibit NF-kB activation in preliminary studies, suggesting an anti-inflammatory role .
Ginger helps to suppress tumour development and tumour progression; Karna et al investigated its role in the management of prostate cancer . Ginger is also used in digestive disorders and can prevent gastric ulcers by inducing mucin secretion. While the exact mechanism of its anti-emetic action is not known, it is used to relieve nausea and vomiting.
Ginger’s anti-inflammatory activity has been used to advantage in the management of joint health. NiLitis®, a bilayer multi-herbal combination containing both ginger SCF and turmeric from the Zingiberaceae family along with Boswellia serrata and black pepper extract, was shown to provide pain relief, reduce joint stiffness, and improve joint function and mobility in people with osteoarthritis .
There is good evidence that ginger SCF is safe when used as a dietary supplement ingredient .
Application and dosage
Super critical extraction is environmental friendly with no harsh solvents or processing involved. The use of carbon dioxide as a solvent at its critical temperature and pressure allows extraction of lipophilic moieties from the plant material while maintaining its natural composition. Use of SCF extraction in ginger helps to preserve natural compounds such as gingerols, which are heat sensitive, and produces a more highly purified extract for use in dietary supplements.
Ginger SCF extract is available in two different grades as 20% and 35% total gingerols standardized by HPLC. Based on the high content of gingerols, the suggested dosage is 100–200 mg, twice a day.
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